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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be a debilitating condition that feels like it has no cure. In fact, it doesn’t have a cure.
That doesn’t mean that IBS can’t get better though, to a level where the person feels like they can function normally and not spend endless hours per day thinking about, planning for and feeling their IBS.
Medical hypnosis for IBS is a highly researched and highly effective protocol for IBS researched at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill created by Dr. Pallson. The protocol is for 7 hypnosis sessions every other week. With just 7 sessions, hypnosis provides effective relief for 80% of patients. Treatment often helps people who haven’t improved with other methods (Whorwell et al., 1984, 1987; Palsson et al., 1997, 2000) and the positive affects last for years after treatment with hypnosis.
Palsson recently published a study in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis (Oct. 2015, v 58, 2) where he reviewed 35 studies of the use of hypnosis for Gastrointestinal Disorders. All of the studies, every single one of them, reported significant improvement in gastrointestinal symptoms. Often the hypnosis helped improve other disorders as well such as migraines and areas of chronic pain.
When talking about treatment for IBS, the information on the government website Office of Women’s Health on hypnotherapy for IBS says the following:
COUNSELING AND STRESS RELIEF
Many people who seek care for IBS also have anxiety, panic, or depression. Stress is also an issue for people with IBS because it can make the symptoms worse. Research shows that psychological therapy can help ease IBS symptoms. Therapies that can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a short-term treatment that mixes different types of therapies and behavioral strategies. The type of CBT used to treat IBS may focus on managing life stress. Or, it may focus on changing how a person responds to anxiety about IBS symptoms.
- Dynamic psychotherapy, an intensive, short-term form of talk therapy. It may focus on in-depth discussions about the link between symptoms and emotions. The therapy may also help people identify and resolve interpersonal conflicts.
- Hypnotherapy, where people enter an altered state of consciousness. Visual suggestions are made to imagine pain going away, for example.
General stress relief is also important. Exercising regularly is a good way to relieve stress. It also helps the bowel function better and improves overall health. Meditation, yoga, and massage may also help.